Love to cook. Love to throw big parties. Married with a 17 yr. old son. 7 yrs. in the restaurant biz, 20 years in a major industrial electric corp. Now happily full-time Mom and wife.

  • Website
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Favorite foods: Beef and pork, but also love fresh tomatoes, white corn on the cob, honeycrisp apples and peaches. Guilty pleasure: Secret addiction to black olives - not the fancy ones but the super colossal canned variety.
  • Last bite on earth: A medium-rare slab of juicy prime rib, chopped salad with extra thousand island dressing, baked potato with gobs of butter and chives, and finally a hunk of good old plain cheesecake.

July 4th - What are Your Plans?

Hi! I've done 15, July 4th parties. I make homemade pulled pork BBQ. fried chicken, a sack of corn on the cob, and hot dogs. I make coleslaw myself. I ask, in my invitation, to bring a sidedish. that they would be happy to present, along with recipe. Beware - you may end up with Twinkies and Blow Bops for dessert. I had a back-up plan at least.

My best advice: Set up everything you can ahead of time. Enlist your friends to help. They'll be more than capable of helping you set up, greet your guests and head them toward the liquor. HeHe. ENJOY YOUR OWN PARTY! I hope it's wonderful! Just chill. Things always come out in the long run.

What is your favorite ice cream novelty?

I adore Choco-Tacos but they're hard to find. Someone told me that Taco Bell carries them, but I've never had the desire to step into the "Bell".

Aside from Primanti Brothers...What are good eats in Pittsburgh?

I'm way late posting this, but Primanti's was a gizmo that has gone south long ago. We'd go at 3 am after frat parties and would eat donkey doo and wouldn't know the difference. In the sober "and light of day", the place just lost it's ambiance. I wouldn't waste a dollar on one of their 'so-called' branch restaurants. The crazyness in the strip is half the enjoyment, and you must decidedly be drunk and arrive no earlier than 3 am.

We desperately need a GOOD German restaurant in the Burg. I don't want to sit at picnic benches to enjoy authentic German cuisine or a noisy sports bar. If anyone is out there, bring us a good German pub with all the traditionals! Thanks. Now I can sleep better :-)

Pittsburgh and Phoenix regional food?

Me again. I just realized I posted a recipe for my Super Steeler No-Bake Snack Mix and never finished the recipe. I think I fell asleep at my computer :-))

Anyway, here goes. I get rave reviews.

In a large bowl, combine the following:
17.9 oz. box of Crispix cereal
2 boxes of Cheese Ritz Bits
1 bag of thin pretzel sticks, broken to bite size pieces
7 oz. bag of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
12 oz. box of Cheez-it crackers (spicy or regular)
(Can add nuts or whatever else sounds good.)

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 bottle of Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn Oil with 1 envelope of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. Once well-combined, pour over the dry ingredients and toss well with a big spoon. Let sit up to 24 hours, stirring from the bottom up every hour or so until all the crackers are coated. It's best made 1 day ahead. Store in a can or leave in bowl if using it the next day.

Extremely addicting!

Pittsburgh and Phoenix regional food?

Don't forget the haluski! Boil wide noodles and drain. Cut 1 head of cabbage into 1 inch wide pieces. Cut 2 big onions into slices of the same size, then cut in half. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a BIG pan and saute everything. The cabbage will sweat down eventually. Season well with onion salt and black pepper. I cook it until the noodles start to brown. Stir frequently. Ambrosia!

What's Your Signature Snack for the Super Bowl?

Wow! I Did the jalapeno popper dip for New Years. Got it from you guys. Awesome!

This is my own, no-bake snack mix to die for.

In large bowl, combine:
17.9oz large box of Crispix cereal
2 boxes of Cheese Nips
1 box of Ritz Bitz with the cheese filling

Add nuts or whatever

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

Hey Hungrygrl7 - Spread the word, E&P is offering free shipping in the US for Smiley cookies or gift baskets. I will be spreading the Steeler/Smiley cookie word.

@Perky - Pgh. DEFINITELY has their own vernacular basterdization of the English language (Pittsburgeeze). You guyz run a close second!

American SE Readership

I think everyone is excited for a multitude of reasons. But when it comes right down to it, the Obama's feel like they could be your next door neighbors. They have close family ties. They obviously love each other (hard to fake that) and they relate to multiple generations. Each, in their own right, are highly educated and intelligent. Their kids are adorable. In so many ways, we feel an affinity with them. God bless America. This fresh breeze was a long time coming.

Talk Categories

All I know is that when I first enter the SE web site via my shortcut, a list of definitions appear for the Talk topics.. Once I click on anything, they disappear. For what it's worth.

Chef, There's a Restaurant Critic in Our Dining Room!

To lighten things a bit, we used to have a ridiculous 'anonymous' critic who would show up at restaurants with a paper bag over his head. It was fun watching him try to eat through the whole in the bag :-)

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

@ Chilimama - Chipped ham is shaved so thin that if you could actually pull a whole slice from the deli bag, you could almost read a newspaper through it. Now THAT'S shaved ham. I have a friend here whose parents head to Florida each winter. When she visits, she is not allowed to come down without bringing 4 lbs. of chipped ham. She used to carry it on the plane. Not sure if she can anymore. My wager still stands, Cardinal fans. Mmmm... can you taste it now???

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

I heard you Perk (and Iz too). I feel your pain, but, alas, we can't all be going to the Show. I would rather play your iggles. We would have had some interesting 'conversations'. No crow eating required (as long as you root for Pgh). There are enough tasteless (but funny) bird jokes circulating already. I got an e-mail with a picture of a dead raven in the middle of the road, and in the distance, you see a Jeep speeding away with a license plate that says "Steelers", and the sign along the side of the road says "Tampa 40 Miles". I won't even go into the Cardinal roadkill pix (only because I feel bad for the poor bird in the picture).

Just to show you all how fanatical we are about our Steelers, the biggest family restaurant chain based in W. PA (over 70 units), Eat'n Park, are closing their restaurants on Superbowl Sunday at 3:00 so that all of their employees can watch the game. Pretty cool.

Now, where are all you Arizona folks hiding??? Let's hear from you too.

Serious Efforts: Brewing the Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea

Wow! You guys have a wealth of information. I intend to conduct experiments the likes of which you see on Alton Brown or Ted Allen's show. I will invite my iced tea-drinking friends who are also brewing impaired. I will report back on our progress. With the amount of tea we will be drinking, it's likely that our post may show up in the middle of the night due to our caffeine overdose. But, aaah..feel the buzz! Thanks so very much :-))

Serious Efforts: Brewing the Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea

Maybe my problem is that I use Sweet'n Low as a sweetener? Would that make a difference? I no longer need to watch my weight, but S&L used to be my go-to. I'm going to whip up some simple syrup as we speak.

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

@ lemons - Kurt deserves this shot. He's a good guy, but so is our Ben. The Steeler's owners have been in negotiations to keep the team in Pgh., so I know how you feel. Pork Steaks... Ummmmm!

Recipe Request: Dense Banana Cake

You could also make a torte with a dense, sour cream banana bread. Just slice the loaf in thirds and use the filling and frosting of your choice. Maybe a browned butter/black walnut filling with a cream cheese frosting? I never thought about it, but I think I might give this a whirl. Let us know what you decide and how it works.

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

I am serious. I can't match every challenger, but a good, serious foodie wager is within my budget. For those of you who have never had chipped chopped ham out west, it's the bomb! Other east vs. west individual challenges would be interesting as well!

Looks Like an East Coast Super Bowl: What Foods Shall We Wager?

No shit fires this year, at least not yet. Mostly good-natured drinking and eating 'burg foods. Hope it stays that way!

Tramontina Saute Pan

Check my Tramontina of post several months ago. I inherited these pans and didn't know their value or quality. I received lots of valuable info. For what it's worth, I noticed that once up to temp, the pans retain their heat for a LONG time. I was browning butter and ended up scorching it; however, it cleaned up nicely. I can't compare them to All Clad unfortunately. It seems there is also a difference in quality based upon where the pans were manufactured - Brazil or US. I look forward to everyone's comments.

Can I Freeze Cooked Pork?

When I have leftover pork roast (like pork shoulder), I mix it with the gravy and freeze it in a plastic container. It makes for great open face pork sandwiches with mashed potatoes.

Does Anyone Know This Vintage Cherry-Flavored, Solid-Jelly Candy?

I distinctly remember getting that very candy at Morrow's Nut House on the boardwalk in Cape May, NJ. That was 35 years ago. Nevertheless, I would check the salt water taffy and candy stores at the beach. It seems a lot of them are getting back into the vintage boardwalk candy offerings.

Rice Cooker Recommendations?

I have a small Elite. It was fairly cheap ($20) and has a tight fitting glass lid and steamer basket. It also has the cook and warm settings. My big complaint is that the rice scorches on the bottom, even when I don't use the warm setting. Other than that, the rice cooks quickly and comes out nice and fluffy.

Looks Like an East Coast Super Bowl: What Foods Shall We Wager?


TAMPA, HERE WE COME!!!!! BTW, What were Raven folks sending us Steeler folks????

Go, Alice! Go, Alice!

Thanks Chiff. My rant is that I have given homegrown veggies and herbs my best shot. I use "green" fertilizer and insect sprays. Just when I'm ready to reap my rewards, the f@*#ing deer eat everything in one night! I'm tired of feeding our local wildlife. PS: I live in a highly-populated suburban community. The deer are not afraid of us, we're afraid of the deer.

Two Whole Pork Shoulders: Now What?

My simple standard - Coat all sides with garlic salt and black pepper. Add roughly 4 tbsp. of veg. oil to roaster pan. Brown on all sides as need be. Add water to 1/3 of the level of the meat, cover and braise around 3 hrs. Check water level and add more as needed. Perfect pork roast.

Next FN Star Debuts tonight

I know we've really exhausted the comments regarding FNTV and in particular, this "reality show". Butttt...I keep seeing Adam Gettler (sp?) on Big Daddy's house where he acts like a neophite in the food world as Big Daddy's dumb sidekick.named Bro. Adam has his own show (semi-interesting). I smell something legal going on.... Maybe Adam saying the competition was fixed? Meanwhile, Big Daddy's House stinks, yet he's showing up on other FN shows. I'm a naturally curious person, but the 'behind the scenes' marketers for this show have a definite agenda & probably know who they will select before round one. Anyone have any knowledge or hunches?

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

Well, it's East vs. West this year for the Show. The Ravens and Eagles got plowed down in the middle of the road. JUST KIDDING! If you follow football, you will know that all 4 teams earned their place in the NFC and AFC finals and the Superbowl. These were probably the most knuckle-biting match-ups we've seen in awhile. I digress. Is anyone willing to pony-up a REAL food item to an SE'r for the winning team? Obviously, I'm Steelers (going for the 6-pack!) I will send 2 pounds of Isaly's Chipped Chopped Ham and BBQ sauce to a Serious Eater who is routing for the Cards. In return, what will you S.Westerners wager?

Serious Efforts: Brewing the Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea

Iced tea is my beverage of choice. I don't drink coffee or colas. For some reason, I am unable to brew a drinkable pitcher of iced tea. I don't use loose tea: usually Luzianne.

I have used glass pitchers, plastic pitchers, you name it. I have steeped the tea for varying amounts of time (I like it strong). I've added fresh lemon and sweetener before refrigerating AND I have tried adding lemon and sweetener for each glass that I pour.

My complaint: EVERY time I make it, under varying circumstances, it ends up cloudy and unappetizing. This is demoralizing, considering I can make pretty much anything except tapioca from scratch and iced tea. Any and all help would be appreciated. I need a caffeine buzz.

[Serious Efforts guidelines »]

Looks Like an East Coast Super Bowl: What Foods Shall We Wager?

With the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals vying for the SHOW, who wants to put their food where their mouth is??? I'm willing to cough up a Pittsburgh specialty dish to a Ravens fan if they win next week. No kidding...made from scratch specialty. You other two birds (Eagles and Cardinals - LOL!) can do the same thing. If we're lucky enough to make it to the Superbowl, our wager must increase a notch. Who's game?

Navigating SE

I've been enjoying this blog for almost a year now, but I'm a complete dunce when it comes to utilizing features that people refer to in their comments. For instance, how do you access other people's profiles? How do you email someone or find out if that person would like to email? Where do you find the contests and how do you follow-up to see who won? Many of you will think this post is redundant, but I truly enjoy my time here, and want to take advantage of all the features available.
Thanks in advance for bringing me up to speed.

Honeycrisp Season?

After reading posts last fall about honeycrisp apples, I had to try them. Now I'm addicted. I spend more on honeycrisps these days than I do for some meats. Lately, I've noticed that they're not quite as juicy and the peels are a little tougher. Is there a "prime" season for them? Are they available year-round, but just not as good during certain seasons? Please help. I've tried some other types of apples, but they come up short. I need to feed my addiction.

Adam gets his own FN show as predicted

Adam Gertler (sp), former loser on the NFNS got his own show on FN as predicted. "I Work for Food" premieres later this month. The premise sounds lame (he milks a goat to get cheese???), but he probably sued them because, clearly, the fix was in for Big Daddy. It sounds like a rehash of "How'd that Get on My Plate". I know, I know...I need to change the channel. I watch 2 shows for enjoyment and some out of morbid curiosity. Anywho...FN 2009 is chock-full of faux reality cooking competitions. Consider me your own early warning system for FN. Guy Fieri got yet ANOTHER show this season. That's reason enough to switch channels.

HELP! I have 60lbs. of Venison...

My weekend hunter/husband got an 8 point buck last week. I have 40 lbs. of (shudder) plain ol' venison chops and steaks in my freezer. As I understand it, I'm getting 20 more lbs. of sausage next week (venison mixed with pork). I've never tasted venison that I like. (Even when it's been soaked in alcohol and braised.) Maybe I don't have a good recipe. I'm told that this thing ate corn and apples, so it should be tasty (shudder again!) I don't want to disappoint hubby and would like to cook a part of it that I could make palatable and not taste like road kill. Any advice/recipes would be welcome.

The Chef Jeff Project...

I know this show has been discussed in this forum previously, but I had to comment on last night's Vegas show. When Chef invited his crew to his home for a party, I turned to mush. What an inspiration! It really isn't about the cooking. He has inspired these kids to set and strive for personal goals. He's got them thinking into the future instead of dwelling on the hopelessness of their current situations (except perhaps with Shantel). He had me in tears with his comments about his family and his crew. It made me want to open my checkbook and contribute, albeit small, a donation to further his work. Since this first season is winding down, what are your opinions on the show, the Chef and his tactics?

Teenage Eating Habits

My 17 year old son has been lifting weights, running and taking dietary supplements like protein powders and vitamins before and after his daily regime. I encourage him to eat nutritious foods as his primary nutritional source as opposed to the supplements. He doesn't understand that until those pesky testosterone hormones kick into action, he won't get his six -pack that he is killing for, even if he eats my veal parmiagiana!

His female counterparts in the high school cafeteria just don't all. They might sneak a piece of fruit and hide it under the table. But at all costs - NO ONE WILL SEE THEM EATING.

How have you dealt with teen eating peculiarities personally, or if you have credentials in this arena, we would surely appreciate your feedback.

Bread Dilemma

All of the recent discussions on threads regarding bread have made me want to try just one more time to make a decent loaf of bread. I am yeast-impaired. In other words, I make awesome zucchini and banana breads but have never been able to make a yeast-based bread come out right. I even bought a bread machine, and that disappointed as well. I broke down today and bought some active dry yeast. I will take one more shot tomorrow. I would like to make a nice loaf of crusty Italian. Any advice or good recipes? I don't really have a warm spot to let the dough rise. Will that be a problem? Thanks for the help.

Giada at Home and Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

Both of the above new series debuted today on FN. Giada's show was more of the same, sans cleavage (sorry guys), though we did get a look at her baby daughter.

Ina's show was great as expected. She even gave us a little food porn. She is having others test-drive her latest recipes. Good ol' T.R.(back again) tested today's offerings. Anyone else catch either of these shows and are you giving thumbs up or down?

Tomato Question

Tonight we're expecting our first frost, so I dutifully pulled the 30 some remaining green tomatoes from my one prolific plant. We're not fans of green tomatoes, so to ripen them, someone told me to wrap each one in newspaper and stick them under my bed. This sounds kinda like voodoo to me. What magical thing will happen under my bed and how do I know they're ripening since they're wrapped in newspaper? Alternate ripening methods would also be appreciated.

Tramontina Cookware - Good Stuff?

I recently received some restaurant quality Tramontina cookware, but I can't seem to find info. on the specific pieces I have. There are 4, tri-ply clad, 18/10, 16cm pans with two riveted handles and 3, tri-ply clad, 18/10, 20cm pans with two riveted handles. All are magnetic induction and were made in Brazil. What are the advantages of tri-ply clad cookware? I plan on using it on a gas cooktop. Can I do that, even though it is magnetic induction? Also, is this considered high-end cookware and is it non-stick? I don't even know the cost of my pieces (no lids). Any info you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Economy-Inspired Menu Changes

In light of all the financial and economic news, I've made a unilateral decision to slowly change my home menus. Hubby and son are not happy about this at all. They want their ribeyes, pork chops, and the rest of the carnivore food festival that has become part of my cooking style, albeit not a very healthy one. Expensive cuts of meat will be the exception, not the rule. Does anyone have ideas on how to downsize the meal budget without resorting to beans, tofu and (aaaargh) ground meat? If I can "sneak" some healthy stuff into a traditional meatatarian menu, I will be indebted for life. All ideas are welcome!

FN has a Revamped Web Site

I just popped into to grab a recipe out of my recipe box and got a little blown away. I was greeted with a very colorful, appetizing home page. I didn't have time to thoroughly surf it, but it appears to much more user-friendly and interesting. My eyes popped open when I saw a recipe box on the home page entitled "Serious Eats". Under the header were a list of recipes. Did I miss something? Is there a collaberation underway? I went back in to look at it more closely (15 minutes later) and it had disappeared. Maybe I'm seeing things, but I doubt it. Anyone else see the box in question? What's your overall opinion of the new site?

Help! Keep deleting myself.

I KNOW I must be doing something wrong, but this is the fifth time I've invested some time to create a post with a lengthy recipe, only to try and edit it in the preview area mistakenly and it disappears. Can it be retrieved somehow? I just tried to post a spice cake recipe in response to a request. I was so absorbed in making sure the recipe was accurate that I hit backspace twice in the preview area and poof! Gone! Is there a way to track it down? Thanks for your help.

Hurricane Aftermath...

My heart goes out to those of you who have suffered through this latest slam of Mother Nature. I'm in Pgh. and my plants blew off their stands (boo-hoo) but goes to show how far-reaching these storms can affect people. No power in a large part of the city for going on 24 hours. What can we do as the SEers to help in a meaningful way?

Halloween - The most wonderful time of the year!

I turn into a little kid again when Halloween approaches. I'm thrilled that this year, my 17 year-old son wants to throw a costume party for his friends, but he wants the food to be "cool". This translates to something not too campy, but more along the adult appetizer line, just jazzed a bit for the holiday. I'm planning a simultaneous adult party in the garage to give the kids their privacy. Any food ideas that could go both ways would be welcome. Also, any spooky decorating ideas? Sky's the limit.

Now that the Olympics are over...

If you're an Olympic junkie like me, I've not really paid a lot of attention to my meal planning. After being reminded of all of the wonderful cuisines around the world, I have the urge to get back into the kitchen and get creative. What will you be cooking?...

Recipe for Lemon Cream Sauce?

My favorite local Italian restaurant makes a lemon cream sauce that is to die for! They serve it over broiled Virginia Spots and scrod, chicken romano and veal romano. It's so good that I order "a little scrod with my sauce". Despite repeated attempts, the owner won't disclose his recipe. It has the consistency of bernaise/hollandaise and tastes buttery/creamy with lemon in the background. It's not tart at all. I think there might be some heavy cream in it.

I tried to replicate it without success. Mine was way too lemony and it separated. Does anyone out there have a recipe or some pointers for creating my own?

Decadent Vacation Food Indulgences...

I try to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet 51 weeks out of the year. But when that vacation week rolls around, all bets are off! I MUST have frozen custard each and every day when at the beach or it's not vacation. I probably consume more eggs in a week than I do the rest of the year.

Anyone else have an obsession with a particular food during vacation?

FN Starting Different Reality Show Contest

When will the madness end? FN is recruiting 4 chefs from the New York tri-state area for yet another cooking competition. The link was listed in the Hungry Girl newsletter today at

I didn't try too hard, but couldn't find a reference to it on the FN web site. I guess I looked out of morbid curiosity. It sounds like a cheap sort of knock-off of NFNS. Any bets on their motivation for this one?

Bacon Salt Topic Disappeared...

Just was wondering what happened to the threads about Bacon Salt. I ordered the product and it rocks. I was curious to see how the SE posters used it in recipes. They had many suggestions, but I can't recall them.

Or was this post a no-no because it promoted a specific product? I'm relatively new to SE, so I guess I need to learn what constitutes an acceptable topic and/or threads.

Thanks in advance for your clarification.

Super Bowl Food Swap Update

Well, it's East vs. West this year for the Show. The Ravens and Eagles got plowed down in the middle of the road. JUST KIDDING! If you follow football, you will know that all 4 teams earned their place in... More

Help! Thanksgiving Appetizer

First I would like to say that I have missed the intelligent, witty banter that occurs on Serious Eats. I have been away for far too long. I am hoping to rectify that as of now. Now that's off my... More

Navigating SE

I've been enjoying this blog for almost a year now, but I'm a complete dunce when it comes to utilizing features that people refer to in their comments. For instance, how do you access other people's profiles? How do you... More